Tips for the Gardener
Let's save money this gardening season and make our gardens more productive.
There are certainly many ways a gardener can save money and still have a beautiful garden.
List below are some things I have done over the years. Please
Cut Flowers Last: My gardening philosophy has never been "Look, but don't touch."
I grow an abundance of flowers just so I can cut them and bring them inside. Here's a
trick I found for keeping them looking their best longer.
- Cut flowers either early in the morning or late in the
afternoon. In the late afternoon, the stems and leaves have the most sugar in them and
this keeps them fresh longer.
- I dissolve a baby aspirin in warm water and add it to
the vase water.
- Change the water every other day and sip a bit of the
Create instant compost - no self-respecting
gardener is without one.
Making your own compost saves money and is better for your plants - nothing beats a
home-cooked meal, right? You make with what is discarded from your garden and kitchen.
Composting can be done with elaborate bins or a simple pile. Either way the compost
piles is nature's gift. Add it to your planting area about 2-3 weeks prior to
planting. This gives it time to work.
Gardener are filled with hope of what's to come - so buy
small plants - The big plant cost more and eventually your small one will be big.
So save some buck and buy small.
Mother Nature at your own risk. Occasionally I found that I was able to grow
plants that were not recommend for my hardiness zone or conditions. For the most part,
don't waste you time or your money or the space.
Don't buy plants at all - save your own - I collect
seed every year from my plants and those in the park. In some areas of my garden, I
let the seeds fall where they may and then I have wonderful surprises next year. (If if
don't like the surprise, I dig 'em up and transplant)
During the growing season I spend time in my garden cutting
off spent flowers (deadheading). Deadheading prevents the plants "going to seed' which
causes the plant to stop producing luscious blooms. Around August, I stop this
practice and let the plants made seeds so that I can plant them next year.
- I have had the best luck with marigolds & zinnias.
The trick is to let them turn brown and dry out. Just before they crack open
to release their seeds, I pluck them and put them in a brown lunch paper bag for safe
keeping until next year.
- I have had success in cutting the stem with seed head,
not fully dried. I generally bring them in a lay them out on newsprint. They
remain undisturbed on the corner of by 8-foot craft table. Once complete dried out,
I put the seeds in a brown paper bag.
- Because I take so many pictures of my garden, I staple a
photo of the Flower on the closed brown paper bag.
- I put all the paper bags with seeds in the extra large
plastic jar. Place the bag inside a large glass jar to prevent rodents from raiding
your garden before it's even planted. Store the jar in a cool, dark place until
you're ready to plant them for next year's garden.
Make compost tea
- I've watched Paul James, the gardening guy,
make it. It's simple, soak a shovel or two of
compost or aged manure (if there is a stable close by) in a bucket of water for a few days.
When the solution turns murky it is ready for you can use this compost-water on your
add compost. Adding organic material will drastically increase the soil's ability
to store water. Here is Lubbock that is extremely important that the soil is amended.
uses - You'll have less weeds to pull if you put multiply layer of newspaper paper
around your tomato plants or you ground vines like zucchini. Try putting mulch
over other areas.
your friends. Use natural and organic fertilizers and soil amendments. This
will keep earthworms happy. Earthworms works as hard in the garden as you do.
All that tunneling creates air space in the soil. They leave behind worm castings
(worm dodo). That's a great fertilizer.
|Think up. Grow
the vines of your melons, squash, or cucumbers up on a vertical trellis. I often let pole
bean grow up on my corn stalks.
Cut back on mulch - Several layers of newspaper
over weedy spots will kill the weeds. You can add some mulch on top of the newspapers.
If you are going to buy mulch look for a nursery that will deliver it in bulk. Buying
in bulk is much cheaper than buying one bag at a time. Bet there is someone close by who'd
split the cost with you.
|Create a habitat
for beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs. Plants daisies, asters or perhaps a fruit
tree around the veggie garden to attract pollinators.
|Extend the Life of
your Tools: A gardener's work is not over until the tools a cleaned and put away
for the winter. Taking care of your tools before winter will make for a happier
- Start with a medium-sized (10-qt) galvanized bucket; the
cheaper the better
- Add sand and some cheap motor oil. Add oil until
you can see a color change, but the texture is still sandy.
- Put them away for next year
- Plunge your gardening tools into the bucket until they
are clean and shinny.
- Clean your gardening gloves, removing any caked on dirt.
- Store them in a plastic "Ziploc" baggie; this keeps them
safe from bugs or spiders seeking a new home.
Wait for the Seed Catalogs: After the first frost and all
the gardening chores are done, I anxiously wait for the arrival of seed and bulb catalogs.
It is such a joy to page through the colorful pictures and plan next year's garden.
I cut out the pictures of the blooms I like and rearrange them on a poster board to get an
idea of what to plant and where to plant them. Then when next year come, I toss
out the plans and let creativity flow willy-nilly.
Repellant. Smelly plants like garlic, onions, chives and chrysanthemums will help
insects. Plant them close by so that you veggies won't become lunch for an pest.
|Beware of Toxic
Plants. Some species will kill crops that are planted nearby. This is called allelopathy.
For instance, the black walnut tree is known to be toxic to tomatoes, potatoes, peppers,
blueberries, and more.
|Start your seeds
indoors. Peas do exceptional well. Seeds are a lot cheaper than buying
|Put 'em in a box.
Containers gardening is a great solution if you lack space. I often grow lettuce
in containers sitting on the patio.
|It's for you not
them. To maximize your eating pleasure, pick your crops before that get too ripe.
Over-ripe veggies are an invitation to birds and pests.
I'm always looking to save bucks. Please